Friday, July 30, 2010

Happiest Hour: Melody at the Big Sky taproom

Posted By on Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Every Friday, just before quittin' time, we profile a western Montana bar, bartender or beverage to whet your appetite for the weekend. This week, meet Melody Turner from the Big Sky Brewing taproom.

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Who she is: Melody has worked the taproom at Big Sky since November 2002, slinging samples, filling growlers and ringing up merchandise. Over the years she’s accumulated an impressive number of dedicated regulars.

Her secret: “The one thing that has always worked for me is using people’s names,” she says. “If I use it immediately, chances are I’ll always remember it.”

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Links: New downtown taproom, border games and John Callahan (UPDATED)

Posted By on Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 1:15 PM

First, what caught our eye locally:

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Let us be among the many fans to welcome Jill Valley back to the KPAX anchor chair. Our thoughts have been with her.

Don't miss Jay Stevens' post on how Sens. Tester and Baucus obstructed Senate reform. It's a great read.

Travis Kavulla at Electric City Weblog lays into a different Tester deal: Canada is closing its border at Whitetail. That's the same spot where Tester curiously secured $15 million to upgrade the U.S. side.

Timothy Alex Akimoff's excellent Grizzly Growler blog reports Flathead Lake Brewing Company is opening a downtown Missoula taproom in the space vacated by Higgins Alley. According to GG, the brewery will team with a local restaurant. (UPDATE: We have it on good authority the restaurant is The Mandolin from the Union Club. Preliminary plans call for Flathead Brewing to take over the upstairs, formerly known as The Loft, and Mandolin to run its restaurant downstairs. Mandolin, meanwhile, will be moving out of the Union Club as early as this weekend.)

Ed Quillen over at High Country News updates Christo's newest art installation idea: "to suspend translucent panels over the Arkansas River between Salida and Canon City [in Colorado] for a two-week period, perhaps in August of 2013." One problem, though: Environmental impact.

And from other alternative weeklies:
Willamette Week remembers cartoonist John Callahan.

Fast Forward Weekly (Calgary) unveils the horror of "big box babycare." It's basically the Wal-Mart of child care. Awesome.

The Indy's own Advice Goddess (well, we share her syndicated column with dozens of other alt weeklies) gets profiled by Illinois Times. Among the secrets she reveals: How she met her boyfriend at an Apple store.

The Stranger's Grant Cogswell writes about the movie being made about his life. It's a cool story, especially because it involves this sentence:

When the crew was preparing a fantasy sequence in the council chambers at the top of the King County Courthouse in which I cameo as a councilperson fending off a polar bear attack with a stapler, Cedric [The Entertainer] incidentally quipped—straight-faced—"I was born with bear paws."

On that note, enjoy the weekend. Happiest Hour will be posted around quittin' time.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

MOR denies preparing to change subdivision laws in the Legislature

Posted By on Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 7:15 AM

As we write in the Indy this week, the Missoula Organization of Realtors (MOR) and Missoula Building Industries Association (MBIA) recently released its long-awaited report (PDF) on agriculture in Missoula. There was an interesting back-and-forth at the press conference last Friday we didn't have room to include in our story.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Missoula history 101: 9 Pieces of Peace

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 5:09 PM

If you've been around Missoula long enough, you're familiar with how a very large peace sign becomes a battleground.

Independent film director Jan Selby is in the midst of making a film called 9 Pieces of Peace about the Water Works peace sign that began as a 30-foot high act of graffiti overlooking the Missoula Valley. The film is about the way residents reacted to its dismantlement and how, over a few decades, it grew into a much bigger community debate that has come to characterize Missoula's rebellious nature in many way—hence the replacement peace sign you can still see on the hill.

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Today, Wednesday, July 28, from 5 to 8 p.m., you can go to Ten Spoon Winery to check out the movie trailer and view peace sign memorabilia. Plus you can share any stories—a videographer will be in attendance—about the peace sign with Selby. The fundraiser includes music by the Ethan Thompson Band and Rhanda Johnson, with food provided and wine for sale. $10/$5 for those "living lightly."

If you can't make it to the film benefit tonight you can still contribute your peace sign stories and comments to Selby by going to the film website, where you'll also learn more about upcoming events for the film.

Total Fest schedule confirms Sasshole reunion

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 11:30 AM

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the rumors have been confirmed: the sassiest rock band from Missoula’s days of yore, Sasshole, will reunite for Total Fest this year.

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Plus, Total Fest IX has now posted its full three-day schedule for your viewing pleasure. The popular indie rock festival that takes place in our fair city every summer for the past nine years, will host at least 48 bands on August 22, 23 and 24 19, 20 and 21. Sasshole—whose members are rock 'n’ roll pillars of the community—will hit the stage on Saturday night. The snarly, trash-talking, hell-if-we-care group is known for being candid with songs like “Stuck in a Dead Girl,” “Boiled Angel” and “Black Mass, Bloody Mess.”

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Find Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Success coach Tom Ferry says our ability to pursue our dreams can be damaged by four addictions: 1. an addiction to what other people think of us; 2. an addiction to creating melodrama in a misguided quest for excitement; 3. an addiction to believing we’re imprisoned by what happened in the past; 4. an addiction to negative thoughts that fill us with anxiety. The good news, Aries, is that in the coming weeks you will find it easier than usual to free yourself from addictions 1, 3, and 4. On the other hand, you may be extra susceptible to addiction 2. So take action to make sure you don’t fall victim to it! What can you do to avoid distracting adventures and trivial brouhahas?

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Meet "mini-Baucus"

Posted By on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 5:00 PM

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The Washington Post profiled Russ Sullivan today, leading with the fact Sen. Max Baucus' top aide would like to be known as Baucus' "Mini Me."

"I would love to be characterized as a mini-Baucus," Sullivan admits in the article. "I'm doing my absolute dead-level best to think as much like him and become as much like him as I can. That's what I want to do."

Didn't Jon Tester say that exact same thing once? Just kidding, of course.

Sullivan, by the way, is from Arkansas and has never lived in Montana. He has, however, turned his office into a shrine to the state. Not kidding. From the Post:

[Sullivan] has developed such a loyalty to his boss's bosses — otherwise known as Montana voters — that he turned his luxurious staff director's office into "the Montana Room." A beautifully carved wooden "Montana" sign hangs above a large office window, and the walls are adorned with Larry Zabel paintings of Native Americans and cowboys, and breathtaking Big Sky scenery.

You can read more about "mini-Baucus" here.

I write like Vonnegut, according to robot in love with H.P. Lovecraft

Posted By on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 4:15 PM

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If you fancy yourself a writer type, new Internet toy "I Write Like" is here to make you feel special. Simply plug in a sample of your writing and the site instantly "analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers."

Naturally, we gave it a try and found the following matches:

Staff writer Alex Sakariassen, from his "Guiding the Guardians" feature: James Joyce
Arts editor Erika Fredrickson, from her story about the last wild horse on Wild Horse Island: Stephen King
Staff writer Jessica Mayrer, from her current gadfly feature story: sci-fi/horror writer H.P. Lovecraft
Senior staff writer Matthew Frank, from his profile of Max Baucus during the health care reform debate: also H.P. Lovecraft
Political columnist George Ochenski: Lovecraft, a third time
Astrology columnist Rob Brezsny: Guess who? Yep, Lovecraft.

Meanwhile, I came up as Kurt Vonnegut based on an excerpt from a story on natural homebirth.

And what about some other Missoula folks?

Humor columnist Bob Wire: J.D. Salinger
Best-selling author James Lee Burke: David Foster Wallace
Missoulian editor Sherry Devlin: Stephen King
Novelist Kevin Canty: King, as well
And, finally, Sen. Jon Tester: Canadian blogger Cory Doctorow. Honest.

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment: calamitous prison escapes, intentionally terrifying clowns and a mother with questionable priorities.

Curses, Foiled Again
After police arrested Ronald White, 35, for shoplifting in Cinnaminson, N.J., they discovered he had outstanding warrants that required posting $400 bail. White paid cash. The next day, Detective Sgt. William K. Covert discovered that five of the $20 bills White used were counterfeit. “They’re pretty poor,” Covert said. “I didn’t have to touch them, and I knew they were bad.” Before police could locate White, he showed up at the police station to complain that he had overpaid his bail and wanted his money back. Officers found two more bogus $20 bills on him. “One of my favorite sayings is, you can’t teach stupid,” Covert said, “because every day something else comes up, and you just shake your head.”

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Ride 'em, Montana Cowgirl (and other local blog news)

Posted By on Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Former Left in the West contributor Montana Cowgirl recently launched her own blog — and, man, is she keeping busy with interesting content.

In the last week two days she's ...

- Linked to a Colorado Independent story about Western Tradition Partnership, a group started by former Montana Speaker of the House Scott Sales and connected to former Belgrade legislator Jon Sinrud.

- Weighed in on Rep. Denny Rehberg joining The Tea Party Caucus.

- Noted how supporters of the failed "Personhood Amendment" continue to grasp for silver linings.

It's good stuff, and worth bookmarking.

Some other local blog topics that have caught our interest this week:

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